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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Power of ONE

This post is part of what I learned from the Alltech One Conference.  In full disclosure, I was paid by Alltech to attend their conference to help with the Social Media presence during the conference. To find more ideas that were shared at the conference look for #ONEBigIdea on all the social media channels.  Thank you to Alltech for allowing me to attend their conference once again.  It is always a conference that sends me home thinking about things in a different way.

The world of agriculture is constantly evolving and more rapidly than ever. 

How do we encourage students to take a serious look at agriculture as a serious career? 

How do we prepare them in their early years of school to be great ag technologists when they get to college and in the workforce?

Dr. Karl Dawson, Chief Scientific Officer of Alltech, spoke on the need to see that we no longer have farmers, but instead we have agriculture technologists.  The science and technology involved in agriculture today is rapidly changing.  Students need to be comfortable and excited about both math and science to succeed in the future.  How do we make science and math fun?
  • Lab Exercises
  • Demonstrations
  • Realization of Career Opportunities
  • Competitions-The Alltech Young Scientist Awards are excellent example of awarding young collegiate scientists in agriculture.
Internships offer hands on learning where students can learn the basics of a quickly evolving technology.  Scientists see that time spent outside the classroom is as important as study time in developing the skills and leadership required for tomorrow's scientists. 

It is important that ag technologists will be driven and have an entrepreneurial spirit as well as understand the following:
  • Agriculture is global in Nature.  We are no longer just producing food for our neighbors around the corner.
  • Food producers have to understand the cultural diversity of the entire planet.

How can WE be the ONE to excite a child about learning? 

How can WE be the ONE to encourage a student to take a serious look at agriculture?

I do think we can learn a lot from Steve Wozniak about how to be that ONE person in a student's life.  Yes, “The Woz” who developed the first Apple Computer.  We listened to Mr. Wozniak during a session where he was presented with The Alltech Humanitarian Award.  I was most impressed with how humble he was and his giving spirit.  
Photo Credit to Taysha of Dirt Road Charm
When he developed the first Apple computer, he wanted to give it to schools to help teach students.  He and Steve Jobs didn’t agree on this concept, so he bought that computer for $300 and gave it to a school himself.  He also helped teach 5th-9th graders for eight years.  He thought if he could inspire just one student to not drop out of school that his time had been well spent.  Have you thought to try to save just ONE child and not just your own?

His words of advice that stuck with me the most were that you can be very humble and still have ideas.  He encouraged everyone to work on fun things that you can show off.  Working on fun things makes work fun, lets you show off, compare ideas with fellow inventors and helps develop your mental skills.  If students work on developing their mental skills, they will be an engineer before they know it. 

All these ideas from Mr. Wozniak brought me back to Dr. Dawson’s initial thoughts in his presentation.
 If you don't know a farmer or rancher, they truly are great engineers and work hard to make things function easier for those of us that work with them everyday.  There are some brilliant minds working behind the steering wheel of a tractor or a saddle horn who's minds never stop thinking how to make the world a better place to work.
I leave you with words from Coach John Calipari of the University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Team, "Your legacy is who you touched and how you impacted others."

Who is ONE student that you can help stay in school?

Who is ONE student you can excite about a career in agriculture?

If we change one thing, everything changes.

The power of ONE is endless.

-A Kansas Farm Mom

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why do we do it? Guest Post

Mom's, your kids may not show cattle or any animals, but I'm betting you have had a similar discussion with your family.

In the world of 4-H and livestock showing, some families become more like family than friends.   Meet Lisa of Dream on Cattle, Company.  I was a second mom to her middle  daughter for the first part of Maine Anjou Junior Nationals last year and she was a second mom to my boys when she arrived and I had to go home to wheat harvest.  Her husband took my boys and heifer and treated them like one of the family.  We didn't know each other all that well last summer, but this summer I am glad to call them part of our show family.  She and I have come to support each other more than beside the show ring and here is her first attempt at blogging, if you like it leave a comment and share it to let her know.  -A Kansas Farm Mom

May 15, 2016
It had been a rough morning in the barns, if you have kids who show livestock then you understand what I’m talking about.  When you roll outside at 5:30 am to get chores done and animals taken care of, you can’t expect everything to go as planned or everyone to be chipper while doing it.
But on this morning, one of the girls was giving it her all to show us that she didn’t want to be there.  And Daddy took this attitude to task.  Which resulted in this rather loud declaration “I hate showing cattle and I never wanted to do it, why do you make me!”

Ah bless us all, here we go.  You’ve been there or you are raising angels and I’m jealous.  She doesn’t hate it but she doesn’t always love the work involved leading up to “show day.”  She’s a typical child in that she would prefer to do things the easy way and still get the glory somehow in the end.
So lucky for us, this was not a day when they had to be at school.  And lucky for her, about 2 hours later we had a “sit down.”  And during this meeting, which I had all the children attend, we discussed why our children will not be allowed to opt out of showing livestock.

It is what we do together.  Sure we love to watch them play sports or listen to them play piano/trumpet/clarinet but those activities are very kid-centered.  Not family-centered.  We all have a role when we show and we do what is necessary to help each other.  And we are TOGETHER which in this day, is a rare and special treat for us!
Showing livestock is how we have decided to teach our children about work ethic.  Off the farm and apart from being seriously hungry, I’m not sure how you teach today’s kids to work hard.  So on the farm, we get the luxury of being hard workers.  There is always something to do and never enough time/able bodies to do it.

Something else depends on you and your ability to finish the job.  It really isn’t an option to not feed or water.  And I am that mom that says, they eat/drink before you do.  Learn to put something in front of yourself.  Some might call it harsh, I call it leadership training 101.

The bottom line would it be easier on me to let her quit?  Yes perhaps in the short run, no one wants to deal with the whining, sighing and eye rolling (my personal fave).  But in the long run, she knows we are not giving in that easy.  Because I want her to feel success as an adult, I want her to set her sights on an impossible goal and get there, letting her quit is not an option!
I’m pretty clear with my kids that a purple ribbon or a grand champion would be an awesome reward but it doesn’t happen every day.  And furthermore it is one person’s opinion at one moment in time.  It won’t always go our way, actually rarely.

 My reward and theirs will be the lessons learned and the memories of all we did together.

One more show mom that I totally look up to sums up our weekends pretty well below.  Melissa Falkenstien of Falkenstien Family Show Goats is a show mom that I really admire and am proud to call her a friend/family.-KFM

If you liked this post you might like my Tribute to Livestock Show Moms, too.